I came to this thread for the first time about 8 months ago and it has taken me this long to be able to post my story. I know it will be long, but I think it will be healing to get it out.
When I was pg I never really connected with the baby. We wanted a baby, but I know it didn’t really “get” what having a baby meant, although I guess that can be said of all first time moms to a degree. We didn’t find out the gender, although I was sure it was a girl. Some things I researched (sort of) like how to have a drug-free birth. I never even glanced at vaxes, figured the doc wouldn’t recommend it if it wasn’t the best for our child. And I never looked into circumcision either, I figured since dh had a penis he could decide, and trusting that the doctor knew best again.
After he was born and nursing and I could touch him, I think I was in shock. It took me a week before it hit me that no one was going to take him away if I screwed up, taking care of him was solely up to me and dh. Too bad I didn’t have that realization earlier. . .
He was 24 hrs old. We wanted to go home early but they said they couldn’t do the circ until he was 24 hrs, so we stayed until they could do it. We both went in with him. I know I had the attitude that it was best for him, it would hurt and all but we were doing what was best. Hah. I wish I had known. He cried when they strapped him down. I stroked his arm and talked to him. He was so small and tiny, so frail on the board. Big round chest and belly, little arms grasping out for me. He was just learning how to breathe, how to nurse, how to stay warm. He was supposed to be learning that the world is a safe, warm, loving place where his needs would be met. Instead he was strapped to a cold, hard board and was about to be scarred on the most personal, intimate, vulnerable level. Safe world indeed.
He screamed when they gave him the shots of anesthesia. The doc waited a bit and poked him with something, I can’t remember what, to make sure he was numb. He was. The doc brought out this clamp thing with dials and two parts. . . I can’t remember exactly how it went, but I know I was surprised and had a sinking feeling when I saw how forcefully he had to pull the foreskin back with the tools that he had. I thought it would pull back easily and maybe be like trimming some extra skin from an earlobe or something, I have no idea what I thought. The thought popped into my head that maybe we didn't really have to do this, it seemed so harsh and extreme. But I kept pressing my feelings aside, reminding myself that we were doing what was best for him. I wouldn’t let myself feel doubt, pushed back any tears that were thinking of starting. The doc finally got the foreskin loose, put on the clamp, and cut off the skin that was sticking out. Then he stood back, crossed his arms easily, and started chatting with us about the weather or something stupid. Deep down I was crying out “The weather? Look at what you’re doing to my baby, this is serious! See him laying here, sprawled out on the table with that huge metal thing stuck on him! And you want to talk about the weather?!?!?!” I talked to ds and stroked his arm, ignoring the crying out coming from deep within me. After awhile the doc took off the clamp, checked the circ, put some ointment and gauze on it, and told us we were free to go. There was no bleeding, just a lot of redness. They said he'd be sore, and I was careful when I changed his diaper but sometimes he would cry and I'd think "Oh, poor guy, you're still sore". And now I think back on it and realize he wasn't sore! He was in horrible pain! How awful he must have felt after the anesthesia wore off! Geez I needed pain relievers for a few days after slicing my finger and needing stitches. And they cut off the most senstitive part
of him, that must have ached horribly for ages! Did I give him any pain reliever? No, afterall, he was just a little sore
. My poor baby! All the pain I put you through, and I had no idea, all for no good reason!
So we went home. And I really never even thought of it, except those few times when, at the age of 3 or 4, he would say “Mama, it hurts when my penis gets big”. And then I read the article in Mothering about FGM, and it said something to the effect of “You may think you’re doing your part by being an intactavist for boys in the US. . .” and I was shocked. How could you even compare the two? One is horrible mutilation done to girls, and the other is no big deal and done to boys. People have been circing boys since forever. And then I started reading. And crying. And regretting it with every fiber of my being exactly what I did to my precious boy, what I took away from him without permission. And fearing that they took off too much and that’s why it hurts him to have an erection sometimes. And just disgusted at the whole stupid practice and propaganda and MARKET!?!? for foreskins, and that nobody told me there was a reason for the foreskin and he would have been better keeping it, and disgusted at myself for not realizing that if he was born with it then there was probably a purpose for it.
We have another little one coming in March. We don’t know for sure but I think he’s a boy. He will be born at home, away from the needles and scalpels and tiny little boards where they strap babies down and take away important body parts without a thought. He will remain peaceful and intact. And I will explain to my older son, who will be 5, that we just didn’t know and did what we thought was best for him. And hope he forgives me. I have realized that I put a wall up between us that day, in an attempt to not feel all the excruciating pain that I was putting him through. Now that I've realized it's there I'm trying to tear it down. But we've already lost so much time, all because of a stupid, uneducated decision. One that will affect him the rest of his life, even if he never has "problems" from it.